So Po Study Series: Jeremiah 1 and The Church as a School of Prophets

We had a wonderful meeting around the Lord last night at Solomon’s Porch.  We learned from Jeremiah chapter one that God forms, sets us apart, and appoints us for ministry.  That Jeremiah’s experience is not unique in God’s economy.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 

The Apostle Paul loved to start his letters to the Saints out in similar fashion.

Ephesians 1:3-6

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love  He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

Philippians 1:3-6

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always offering prayer with joy in my every prayer for you all, in view of your participation in the gospel from the first day until now.  For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 1:2-4

We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;

 

The previous-ness of God and His grace is not something that we should run from, but rather, it is something that we should rejoice in and embrace.  Jeremiah needed to know that God had formed him and set him apart because, he, as a boy, was being called upon to carry the Lord’s Word to those that desperately needed to hear the Truth.  Jeremiah was being called into a prophetic ministry that he would stand nearly alone in throughout his entire life.  Jeremiah was charged with telling others that God’s wrath was coming.  He would be beaten and imprisoned.  He would witness the slaughter of his nation by a foreign power and their captivity and enslavement.  The book of Jeremiah begins with the previous-ness of God, His grace, gifts, and calling of Jeremiah for a reason.  It was vital Truth that Jeremiah would need to cling to throughout his entire life and ministry.  That’s the reason I think Paul loved to talk about it so much as well.  But before we go there, let’s chat a second about how modern Christians and Jeremiah are in the same boat.

We are followers of the Lord Jesus Christ…….the greatest and last Prophet.  In the historical context of Jesus’ life and ministry, it was common for Rabbi’s to gather students in much the same manner as Jesus did, and teach them.  There were also those that claimed (and many were) to be prophets of God.  They also would gather students and teach them.  These were known as Schools of Prophets, a rather apropos name.  Now, as I previously stated, Jesus was the greatest of the Prophets, and the apostles knew from the very beginning that they were joining up with a prophet.  Jesus, in an answer to Nathaniel’s doubts that He was the Christ at their very first meeting said, “before, when you were under the fig tree I saw you.”  Which engenders a response of acknowledgment from Nathaniel that He, Jesus, was indeed the Christ.  So Jesus’ little band of merry men was a School of the Prophets.  And we, who also like them, joined themselves to Jesus by faith, have entered into that same Prophetic School.  Obviously I am making an inferred connection here, it is not clearly stated in the text of Jeremiah that the Christians Church is a prophetic entity.  But it is clearly stated in another place let’s look briefly at the book of Joel.

Joel 2:28-32

28 “It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.

29 “Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days.

30 “I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, Blood, fire and columns of smoke.

31 “The sun will be turned into darkness And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

32 “And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Will be delivered;

Here the prophet Joel clearly states that there is a time coming when all the “sons and daughters” of Israel “will prophesy”, when all there “old men” and “young men” will dream dreams and see visions, and even the servants will have the Holy Spirit poured out on them.  When was this prophecy fulfilled?  It was fulfilled in Acts chapter two, when the Holy Spirit was first given to the Church.  The men of Jerusalem, supposing that the Apostles had been nipping at the wine a little early in the day believe that what they are witnessing is some sort of drunkenness.  Suddenly these Galileans could speak various languages, or at least the crowd, which was made up of Jew and God fearing Gentiles from all over the known world, heard them speak in their own language.  Trying to dismiss this oddity they said, “man these guys must be drunk”.  But listen to Peter’s response to that charge

Acts 2:15-21

“For these men are not drunk, as you suppose, for it is only the third hour of the day; but this is what was spoken of through the prophet Joel: ‘AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS; EVEN ON MY BONDSLAVES, BOTH MEN AND WOMEN, I WILL IN THOSE DAYS POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT And they shall prophesy.  ‘AND I WILL GRANT WONDERS IN THE SKY ABOVE AND SIGNS ON THE EARTH BELOW, BLOOD, AND FIRE, AND VAPOR OF SMOKE.  ‘THE SUN WILL BE TURNED INTO DARKNESS AND THE MOON INTO BLOOD, BEFORE THE GREAT AND GLORIOUS DAY OF THE LORD SHALL COME.  ‘AND IT SHALL BE THAT EVERYONE WHO CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.’

The giving of the promised Holy Spirit transformed the Church into a Prophetic entity, with the same tasks that come to all Prophetic Ministry.  We must tell the Truth of God to ourselves, to our brothers, and to the World around us.  Like Jeremiah we are called to walk a prophetic road.

Think about the Gospel, what exactly is the good news.  Well, in a nutshell, Jesus has come and bore the wrath of God for us, while, at the same time, also fulfilling our obligations of perfect personal obedience (righteousness), leaving us in complete peace with God.  That is awesome, it is truly good news.  However, all that has to be said in context.  Listen to Paul discussing the Gospel life and call with the early church

Colossians 3:5,6

“consider the members of your earthly body as dead to immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed, which amounts to idolatry.  For it is because of these things that the wrath of God will come upon the sons of disobedience

Ephesians 2:1-3

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.”

The context of the Gospel is that God is watching His Word be rejected on the earth, and that “the wrath of God is coming upon the children of wrath.”  Now that is not a whole lot different than the first two messages Jeremiah was to deliver to God’s people in Judah.

Jeremiah 1:11-17a

The word of the LORD came to me saying, “What do you see, Jeremiah?” And I said, “I see a rod of an almond tree.”  Then the LORD said to me, “You have seen well, for I am watching over My word to perform it.” 

The word of the LORD came to me a second time saying, “What do you see?” And I said, “I see a boiling pot, facing away from the north.”  Then the LORD said to me, “Out of the north the evil will break forth on all the inhabitants of the land.  “For, behold, I am calling all the families of the kingdoms of the north,” declares the LORD; “and they will come and they will set each one his throne at the entrance of the gates of Jerusalem, and against all its walls round about and against all the cities of Judah.  “I will pronounce My judgments on them concerning all their wickedness, whereby they have forsaken Me and have offered sacrifices to other gods, and worshiped the works of their own hands.  “Now, gird up your loins and arise, and speak to them all which I command you.

Think of the concept of repentance.  In the Christian context it is a 180-degree turn, away from sin and into the Truth of God.  It often involves a radical reordering of our lives, restitution, and sweaty spiritual exercise.  This sounds a lot like the description of a prophetic ministry. Again listen to God’s Word to Jeremiah,

Jeremiah 1:10

“See, I have appointed you this day over the nations and over the kingdoms, To pluck up and to break down, To destroy and to overthrow, To build and to plant.”

The Gospel demands repentance, a razing of our entire previous life.  It calls for our death, there is no more radical a call on the planet.  Why?  So we can do nothing?  No, a thousand times no.

John 12:24

“Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.”

Christian repentance is a plucking up and a breaking down, so that newly transformed life can grow back in it’s place.  We are clearing the ground for a “house” of God “not made with hands”.    What is the guide and driving force behind this sweaty spiritual transformation that we are to submit ourselves to, and tell others around us about?

Jeremiah 1:9

“Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.”

The Word of God, the words breathed out by the Son, that have now been placed in our mouth by the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and lives.  We, as the Church, are Prophets of the Most High God, called to deliver His Truth to ourselves, and to the World.

Which leads us back to where it all starts for Jeremiah, the previous-ness of God and His grace.  The Word to Jeremiah is a Word to us.  We must first hear the love and grace of God for us before we can rightly tell the world about the judgment coming upon it.  Judgment without love is hypocrisy, and that is exactly the way it is perceived when it is trumpeted from our pulpits and our armchairs.  Without love we are just noisy, clanging cymbals.  What is suppose to be good news comes off as self-righteous news.  Jeremiah will become known as the weeping prophet, and I believe it is because he was keenly aware that before he was given a Word for Judah, he was given a word for himself.

Jeremiah 1:5

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations.” 

This is the Lord’s Word to all of us whom, “in love He predestined” “to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.” (Ephesians 1:4b-6)  This is where God’s Word begins to Jeremiah, and it is where I will end for this week.

Grace and peace to you all in Christ Jesus our Lord,

Jeremy

P.S.

There is one incredibly wonderful way that we differ from Jeremiah.  Where he stood nearly alone for 53 years, we have each other.  Jeremiah was a lonely single prophet, thank goodness there are other students in Christ’s prophetic school, the Church.  Rejoice in Christ and each other this week and I’ll see ya Thursday for Supper @ So Po. 6:30……. my house!


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